International Students

International Students

The Columbia School of Social Work welcomes you!

We look forward to meeting with all of our international students, learning from you, and helping you adjust to your new life in Manhattan.

International Student Resources

Settle in at Columbia

Columbia University’s International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) is the go-to resource for international students. Please check out the full range of services they offer, from applying for a student visa to working off campus. (Occasionally ISSO profiles one of our students!)

Settle in at CSSW

Our Office of Enrollment and Student Services extends a helping hand to international students. Other helpful CSSW resources include student caucuses—such as the International Students Caucus, the Global Caucus, and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus—and our Writing Center.

International Students Program

A program for students new to the U.S. social welfare system.

International students who are unfamiliar with the U.S. social welfare system are registered in our Five-Term International Students Program, which features a Professional Immersion Seminar in the fall term covering U.S. social services as well as English-language enhancement courses.

Please note: Students in need of additional English-language practice may be required to enroll in the six-week summer course English for Professional Purposes: Social Work, prior to the start of the fall term.

International Students Program FAQ

An Education with a Global Focus

Columbia offers several international courses and programs.

At the School of Social Work, students have the option of concentrating in international social welfare, with summer and field internships at international organizations like the United Nations, both in New York and abroad. They also have the opportunity to take courses with faculty who are working around the globe. Every spring, the School offers special courses on social work in particular countries, such as Chile or Jordan, with opportunities to travel to those countries during spring break.

Hear from Your Peers

Former students from overseas talk about their Columbia experiences and offer advice.
Advice to Future Columbia U. MSW Students from China
(In Chinese, with English subtitles) Several Chinese graduates of Columbia University's School of Social Work, Class of 2017, reflect on the experience of obtaining an MSW from Columbia University, while living in the United States, on behalf of other students from China who may follow in their footsteps.
WHY COLUMBIA? Chinese Journalist’s Story
Di Cao (MSW'16) tells the story of her journey from China to Columbia, from a career in journalism to one in social work. What made her leave China to study abroad, and what new tools has she gained?
STUDENT STORY: Di Cao (MSW'16) on How She Came to Study Social Work at Columbia
(Chinese language interview)
CAREER STORIES: Zhanjie SI (MSW'09) Talks about His Social Work Career Post-CSSW
After earning a master's in social work from Columbia University, Zhanjie Si returned to China to direct the Aizhen Community-based Rehabilitation Program, for people in ethnic minority communities who suffer from leprosy. He explains what the degree did for him.
Zhanjie SI (MSW'09) Talks about His Social Work Career Post-CSSW - In Chinese
After earning a master's in social work from Columbia University, Zhanjie Si returned to China to direct the Aizhen Community-based Rehabilitation Program, for people in ethnic minority communities who suffer from leprosy. He explains what the degree did for him. In Chinese with English subtitles.